What is Endodontic Treatment?
Endodontic Treatment is also known as root canal treatment. Root canal treatment involves the removal of the diseased pulp along with the tooth's nerve (located within a tooth's root canal). The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of your tooth are then cleaned, medicated and sealed. A dental crown or other restorative treatment is used to protect and strengthen the tooth.
Why get a root canal?
A root canal saves a severely injured, cracked, or decayed tooth when its pulp (the soft inner tissue inside a tooth's root canal) becomes inflamed or infected and causes pain. If it is not treated promptly, severe pain or a tooth abscess (infection) results.
Root canal treatment is completed in one or two office visits, depending on the presence of infection, and the number of canals in the tooth. After restoration, usually by covering the tooth with a crown, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
What are some common symptoms?
See your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Tooth or gum pain, discoloration, or prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
- A tooth that is tender when it is touched
- A tooth abscess (pus enclosed in the tissues of the jawbone at the tip of an infected tooth)
- Pus drainage in your mouth
- Swelling or tenderness in the lymph nodes under your jaw
Sometimes an endodontic problem can exist without warning signs. In these cases, a digital x-ray taken during a routine dental checkup can reveal the tooth damage.
- A local anesthetic is applied to the affected tooth and surrounding area
- A small, protective sheet called a "dental dam" is used to isolate the tooth to keep it clean and free of saliva during your procedure
- An opening is made in the top of the tooth and Dr. Kokinias will remove the soft pulp and nerve and then shape the interior for filling
- The root canal is cleaned, medicated, and filled with a rubber-like biocompatible material (gutta percha)
- A temporary filling is placed until the tooth is ready for a permanent restoration
- The final step is a permanent restoration, such as a filling or crown, to protect the tooth. This is usually performed at a separate appointment
- If a tooth has a complex nerve system or curved canals, the patient may be referred to an endodontist for treatment.